||Roque Gomes da Costa says “out of need we can do a lot. The countryside makes people wake up and look for ways of surviving. That’s why the interior in the North East is so rich in culture and art”.
Born in Afrânio (PE), in 1960, Roque used to work the land with his family. While still young, he went to study in Petrolina. “That’s where I learned about figureheads. I don’t think I realised there was an artist inside me but I spent 10 years sculpting figureheads. Everyone around used to make them, first in the style of Master Guarany, then more stylized, vampire-like. But I wanted more. Sculpting makes you use your brain more. So I learned baroque art. It’s an art with more tradition, more value.” He’s very dedicated, and each image is worked to the full. “When I make a Christ, he must look like Christ, not like a bandit. I always want more, always want to improve.” Recognized as a master in his art, Roque ended up being known as Roque Santeiro (saint maker), a title he deserves. When he speaks the appprentices around him he goes straight to the point: “I don’t teach them what I do. What I do is my own thing. I teach them how to work with wood. Maybe that way the artist inside them will wake up.”